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Panthers to rest entire team of stars, Rabbits won’t risk Cook, Broncos facing axe




Penrith are set to roll out a reserve-grade side for Saturday’s final round against North Queensland in Townsville, which is great news for the Cowboys who need to win to avoid finishing fourth.

After celebrating the minor premiership with a thumping win over the Warriors on Friday night, Ivan Cleary is reportedly set to rest a dozen stars while star halfback Nathan Cleary is serving the final match of his spear tackle suspension.

Not making the trip north will be a team of 1. Dylan Edwards 2. Taylan May 3. Izack Tago 4. Stephen Crichton 5. Brian To’o 6. Jarome Luai 7. Nathan Cleary 8. Moses Leota 9. Api Koroisau 10. James Fisher-Harris 11. Viliame Kikau 12. Liam Martin 13. Isaah Yeo and bench forward Spencer Leniu.

Sean O’Sullivan and Jaeman Salmon are set to line up in the halves with Mitch Kenny and Scott Sorensen in the pack with fringe first-graders like Robert Jennings, Charlie Staines, Matt Eisenhuth, J’maine Hopgood, Sunia Turuva and Kurt Falls to form the rest of the squad with players called up from the NSW Cup.

Souths are set to keep Damien Cook in COVID-19 isolation after he tested positive on Saturday for Friday’s stoush with Sydney Roosters at Allianz Stadium even if the government reduces the quarantine period from seven to five days.

SYDNEY, AUSTRALIA - JUNE 18: Lindsay Collins of the Roosters looks on during the round 15 NRL match between the Parramatta Eels and the Sydney Roosters at CommBank Stadium, on June 18, 2022, in Sydney, Australia. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Lindsay Collins. (Photo by Brett Hemmings/Getty Images)

Roosters prop Lindsay Collins has been banned for four weeks for his hip-drop tackle on Tom Eisenhuth, which has ruled the Storm forward out for the rest of the year.

Brisbane coach Kevin Walters is set to dump rookie five-eighth Ezra Mam for Tyson Gamble among a raft of changes and recall Maroons winger Selwyn Cobbo after he was rested due to the fatigue of a busy season for last week’s 53-6 thumping at the hands of Parramatta.

Pat Carrigan is also back from a four-game ban as the Broncos need to thrash the Dragons on Saturday to overcome a 43-point differential or hope Canberra lose to the Wests Tigers on Sunday to steal eighth spot from the Raiders.

Eels prop Reagan Campbell-Gillard has pleaded not guilty to a dangerous contact charge for an incident involving Thomas Flegler and will front the judiciary on Tuesday night but is only facing a fine of $1500 if unsuccessful.

Titans centre Brian Kelly is facing a four-game ban for the spear tackle on Dominic Young which led to his send-off on Sunday while Wests Tigers centre Asu Kepaoa is out of the clash with Canberra for his high shot against the Dragons which led to Zac Lomax’s match-winning penalty.

Teams will officially be announced at 4pm AEST.

Round 25 Teams

Thursday

Eels vs Storm, 7.50pm at CommBank Stadium

Eels: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Parramatta will be at full strength for the showdown for fourth after the Broncos barely left them with a bruise in last week’s 53-6 cakewalk.

Storm: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Nelson Asofa-Solomona has again avoided suspension, copping a $3000 fine for his fifth charge of the season at the judiciary. Fellow forward Tom Eisenhuth is out for the rest of the season after suffering an ankle injury in Lindsay Collins’ hip-drop tackle last Friday.

Friday

Bulldogs vs Sea Eagles, 6pm at Accor Stadium

Bulldogs: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Luke Thompson is available for selection after serving his seven-day COVID-19 isolation. 

Sea Eagles: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Morgan Harper is likely to return in the centres and Andrew Davey could bolster the pack but Des Hasler is running out of troops for the final match of a disappointing campaign.

Roosters vs Rabbitohs, 7.55pm at Allianz Stadium

Roosters: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Lindsay Collins has been banned four games for his hip-drop tackle and will only play again this year if the Roosters make the Grand Final. Victor Radley (concussion) and Daniel Tupou (groin) are likely to sit this one out to be ready for the finals. 

Rabbitohs: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Damien Cook is set to stay on the sidelines after testing positive to COVID-19 last Saturday with Siliva Havili likely to remain at hooker. Tevita Tatola will need to pass the concussion protocols to suit up at prop.

Saturday 

Warriors vs Titans, 3pm at Mt Smart Stadium

Warriors: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

A calf strain means Shaun Johnson could be out of action for the last clash of the year back at Auckland. Euan Aitken is due to return after missing the loss to Penrith due to personal reasons.

Titans: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Brian Kelly is out for four matches into next season for his spear tackle on Dominic Young so Phil Sami is set to replace him in the centres if he is over his head knock.

Dragons vs Broncos, 5.30pm at Netstrata Jubilee Stadium

Kogarah: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Veteran prop Josh McGuire will play his last game in the NRL before heading to the Super League to finish his career in a Dragons team expected to be unchanged after getting out of jail against the Tigers.

Broncos: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Kevin Walters was furious with his team’s capitulation against Parramatta and is likely to make several changes. Pat Carrigan returns from a costly four-game ban as the Broncos try to pull off a mathematical miracle to make the finals. Adam Reynolds, who failed an HIA early in the loss to the Eels, is due to play. Tyson Gamble is set to replace Ezra Mam at five-eighth while Herbie Farnworth could make an early return from a bicep injury in a major boost for England’s World Cup hopes to replace Brenko Lee, who has again been hobbled by a hamstring problem.

Cowboys vs Panthers, 7.35pm at QCB Stadium

Cowboys: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Tom Dearden (ruptured testicle) is unlikely to return at five-eighth and prop Coen Hess is also set to miss the match due to his high tackle ban. 

Panthers: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Ivan Cleary is set to rest most of his first-choice line-up, which is great news for the Cowboys, who need to win to avoid dropping to fourth spot. 

Sunday 

Knights vs Sharks, 2pm at McDonald Jones Stadium

Knights: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Experienced duo Mitch Barnett (thumb) and Kurt Mann (thigh) could return to boost the pack. 

Sharks: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Connor Tracey (concussion) and Kade Dykes (calf) could force their way into the backline.

Tigers v Raiders, 4.05pm at Leichhardt Oval

Tigers: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Luke Brooks has one last chance to play again this year for the Tigers, and perhaps in his career if he is released in the off-season, after being out for a month with a calf problem. 

Raiders: Team to be announced at 4pm AEST

Former NSW winger Nick Cotric (groin) is a chance of unseating Albert Hopoate in the only expected change to the team which thumped Manly.





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